by William Eric McFadden



Two members of the Southeast Ohio Radio Adventure Team participated in the 2014 Adventure Radio Society Flight of the Bumblebees operating event. Eric McFadden, WD8RIF, bicycled from home to West State Street Park in Athens, Ohio where he was met by John McCutcheon, N8XWO. The pair were joined by Eric's wife Vickie, KC8MAJ. Eric operated as Bumblebee #15.

WD8RIF's loaded bicycle -- click to enlarge Severe weather had been forecast for southeastern Ohio and Eric and John had been unsure they'd even be able to participate in the event. However, at 1600 UTC the weather-radar showed nothing approaching and the skies were clear so the pair decided to make a go of it.

Eric bicycled from his home to West State Street Park for the event, a hilly ride of about 7.5 miles, carrying his KX3 Travel Kit on the bicycle. In addition to the KX3 Travel Kit, Eric carried a clipboard and a Yaesu FT-60R dual-band FM handheld. The small station traveled very well on the bicycle.

Arriving at the park about 1715 UTC, Eric quickly erected the 28' end-fed wire antenna and set up the KX3 station in the park's picnic-shelter. John arrived on-station just after Eric succeeded in hanging the antenna on the first throw.

WD8RIF operates while N8XWO watches -- click to enlarge Operations began with the first QSO at 1730 UTC with KX0R in Colorado on 20 meters. A total of eleven QSOs were made on the 20 meter band before Eric ended operations at 1915 UTC because of threatening skies. Stations were worked in CO, FL, MN, NM, ON, QC, TX, and UT. Eric did tune around on 40m but no activity was heard and no stations responded to his calls of CQ.

As expected, the KX3 worked very well for this event. The ten AA-cell battery holder stuffed with Eneloop cells easily powered the rig for the entire period Eric operated. This was the first time Eric had really used his AME Mini-B paddle mounted on the KX3 using his custom bracket; he found the arrangement to work quite well.